Pigeon Creek Park 3.jpg
Pigeon Creek Park, underused along the Mississippi River. Friday July 16, 2010. Photo: Rashah McChesney/Quad-City Times Rashah McChesney

On a recent weekday morning, the tall trees that line the trails of Bettendorf's Pigeon Creek Park offer cool shade from the summer sun.

Birds chirp in the trees, and the Mississippi River laps at the shore as a barge slowly makes its way up river.

Noticeably - and perhaps fortunately - absent from this serene scene are other people.

The 45-acre park has few amenities - less than a mile of paved trails, a gazebo and an overlook of the river.

But in contrast to larger parks that feature athletic fields and playgrounds - and the crowds of people they attract - Pigeon Creek Park is intended to be a place of solitude where people can bird watch, fish or just take a quiet walk in the woods, Bettendorf Parks and Recreation Director Steve Grimes said.

"It is definitely more of a passive recreation area," he said.

Pigeon Creek Park can be reached by taking U.S. 67 through Bettendorf and Riverdale, and turning toward the river on Shoreline Drive just past Riverdale.

Martha Spriggs and her husband, Brian, moved into a home on the eastern edge of Pigeon Creek Park four years ago and frequently walk their dogs in the park.

Spriggs said there is a small group of regular visitors to the park who come to fish, walk the trails and watch eagles in the winter.

The wildlife inhabiting the park makes it an interesting place to watch, Spriggs said.

"We love the river," she said. "Every day is something different."

In addition to eagle-watching in the winter, the park also has become a good spot to watch pelicans, said Ron Maday, who coordinates the city's parks ambassador program.

Still the park is, by design, a place where people can often find few other people around, Maday said.

"It isn't what you would call a high-usage area," Maday said.

But just because the parking lot generally isn't full, don't think the park is unappreciated.

"It serves a great purpose," Grimes said.